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Lethbridge to see an 'average' mosquito season, mitigation work underway

Todd Carter, a mosquito technician with the City of Lethbridge, is seen on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Todd Carter, a mosquito technician with the City of Lethbridge, is seen on Tuesday, May 28, 2024.
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Recent wet, cool temperatures have Lethbridge crews out monitoring mosquitoes ahead of the summer.

"Following a drought year from last season and a pretty low mosquito level population going into 2024, a nice wet spring is setting things up for bringing things up to average," said Todd Carter, a mosquito technician with the city.

Carter, who is the sole technician for the city, spends his spring and summer days checking shallow, stagnant water for larvae and taking the appropriate action where he sees fit.

"I like to get out following a rainfall," he said.

"Two or three days after we can look for our seven to 10 day window where we'll find mosquito larvae, and we treat them with a larvicide and try to keep those numbers down before they reach adulthood."

Close to 90 millimetres of rain has fallen in Lethbridge in the month of May and temperatures are expected to warm up heading into June, creating ideal conditions for the pests.

The city uses a naturally occurring bacteria to control and prevent the mosquitoes. The larvicide is coated on corn meal, which Carter then throws into the areas with known larvae to kill them before they hatch and spread.

"It’ll depend on how hot the water gets," Carter said. "As we see more sunny, warm days, that water temperature is going to increase and encourage larvae to hatch."

While Carter fights the pests on public land, he's asking residents to do their part around their homes.

"Make sure you don't make have standing water in your yard," he said.

"Keep your bird bathes clean, emptied and fresh water. Cover your rain barrels. If you have any standing water in your lawn, try your best to reduce that."

Before venturing out, he says be prepared by wearing long sleeves, repellent and avoiding peak mosquito times such as dusk and dawn.

"These days, maybe one in five people could be susceptible to West Nile virus, usually our older population, but generally we don't need to be worried about West Nile," he added.

Carter will continue to monitor the mosquitoes throughout the summer until temperatures begin to cool in the fall.

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